An analysis of medical malpractice payouts for 2018 from the data collected by the National Practitioner Data Bank found that total amount of medical malpractice payouts increased by 2.91% in 2018 ($4,031,987,700). The average medical malpractice payout in 2018 was $348,065. There were 11,584 medical malpractice payouts in 2018.
The five U.S. states with the largest medical malpractice payouts in 2018 were New York (1,535, totaling $685,317,000); Pennsylvania (909, totaling $369,034,250); Florida (1,292, totaling $346,857,750); California (1,230, totaling $269,240,200); and, New Jersey (630, totaling $226,712,000).
The five U.S. states with the smallest medical malpractice payouts in 2018 were North Dakota (5, totaling $675,300); Washington, D.C. (11, totaling $2,680,750); South Dakota (15, totaling $6,215,000); Wyoming (18, totaling $6,692,000); and, Montana (44, totaling $8,696,250).
In 34.1% of the medical malpractice payouts, the allegation was diagnosis-related. Surgery was involved in 21.4% of the medical malpractice payouts. Treatment-related claims were made in 21.1% of the medical malpractice payouts.
A settlement was involved in 96.5% of the medical malpractice payouts, for a total of $3,889,417,950 (judgment was entered in 3.5% of the medical malpractice payout cases, for a total of $142,569,750).
The largest average medical malpractice payouts involved quadriplegia, brain damage, and life-long care ($961,185), followed by major permanent injury ($610,393), significant permanent injury ($450,356), death ($386,317), minor permanent injury ($242,524), major temporary injury ($227,063), emotional injury only ($128,821); outcome unknown ($128,489), minor temporary injury ($87,252), and insignificant injury ($40,030).
The demographics of the patents who received a medical malpractice payout in 2018 were: male – 44.23%; female – 55.54%; outpatient – 39.65%; and, inpatient – 43.74%. Patients who were between 50 and 59 years old received the highest total amount of medical malpractice payouts in 2018, followed by those 40 to 49 and those 60 to 69.
Johns Hopkins patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S. The researchers examined four separate studies that analyzed medical death rate data from 2000 to 2008, including one by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Then, using hospital admission rates from 2013, they extrapolated that based on a total of 35,416,020 hospitalizations, 251,454 deaths stemmed from a medical error, which the researchers say now translates to 9.5 percent of all deaths each year in the U.S.
The researchers concluded that “most errors represent systemic problems, including poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition to unwarranted variation in physician practice patterns that lack accountability.”
According to the CDC, 611,105 people died of heart disease in the United States in 2013, 584,881 died of cancer, and 149,205 died of chronic respiratory disease (the top three causes of death in the U.S.). Therefore, deaths due to medical errors is the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind cancer deaths but ahead of deaths due to respiratory disease.
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of medical malpractice in the United States, you should find a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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